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Open Clouds Reshape IT Infrastructures

By Ren Zhipeng, President, Huawei Cloud Computing Product Line

For enterprise IT, cloud computing has become the key to unlocking the future of IT infrastructure. Future IT infrastructures will require compatibility with existing resources so that enterprise services can run efficiently, including the ability, to leverage Internet innovations such as Big Data.

Openness is mission-critical to achieving this, to 1) optimize legacy IT facilities; 2) implement agile, intelligent services that incorporate the Internet innovations of other developers; and 3) prevent vendor lock-in and minimize costs.

Megatrends in IT Infrastructure

An open cloud can best be described by looking at the phases which enterprises undergo as they transform to a cloud infrastructure from IT silos: from server-level virtualization to private clouds, and from private clouds to an open, convergent hybrid architecture that spans both private and public clouds.

Phase 1: Open IT

The two key events that signal the transformation to an open IT infrastructure are the migration to x86 servers and the deployment of virtualization software. When migrating from UNIX servers to x86 servers, software gets decoupled from hardware. This enables the installation of operating systems and service software from multiple vendors. The deployment of virtualization software on x86 servers enables applications to be freely migrated across hardware platforms from multiple vendors, without service interruption. IT silos are created because software deployment and Operations & Maintenance (O&M) remain tightly coupled with hardware, which, in turn, prolong new service rollouts.

Phase 2: Private Clouds

Server virtualization is widely used in enterprise IT infrastructures because it breaks down server-specific silos. However, most server clusters after virtualization remain small in scale, with less than 64 servers in a single cluster. Virtualization platforms from multiple vendors remain siloed and cannot be centrally scheduled, managed, or utilized.

The fix is to aggregate resources from multiple vendors into virtual resource pools: multi-vendor server resources into a computing resource pool, multi-vendor storage resources into a storage resource pool, and multi-vendor network and security resources into a network resource pool. Pooled resources can then be managed centrally and allocated to applications through open, standards-compliant cloud service interfaces. This approach pools and clusters hardware resources across data centers at multiple sites, and completely decouples software from hardware to form a single resource pool. Enterprises are then able to maximize IT hardware utilization and significantly expand the user-base for each application.

Phase 3: Hybrid Architectures

Budgets tend to be the limiting factor for hardware resources in enterprise private clouds. At the same time, services like mobile Internet incur high user traffic. To support these services, enterprise IT infrastructures will access hardware resources leased from external, public clouds for some volumes or types of service requests — resources that will be released once the overflow requests are handled. It is expected that interactions between private and public clouds will provide the same user experience, and be compliant with all Service Level Agreements (SLAs), security policies, and O&M. The seamless integration of private and public clouds into a hybrid, open service requires the quick availability of all relevant Application Programmable Interfaces (APIs).

The next step is the building of a universal cloud platform, independent of system structures, physical equipment, data centers, cloud types, or applications to deliver open, convergent IT-as-a-Service (ITaaS) instances.

FusionSphere OS

Huawei uses OpenStack open-source software along with Software-Defined Storage (SDS), Software-Defined Networking (SDN), and automated management tools in its ICT-enabled cloud platform. This approach reaffirms Huawei’s commitment to helping enterprises build open IT architectures and ecosystems.

Huawei’s FusionSphere open cloud platform is compliant with the OpenStack framework and standard APIs. FusionSphere is fully compatible with heterogeneous virtualization software and IT hardware platforms at the infrastructure layer. With FusionSphere, enterprises can centrally manage virtualization software and IT equipment from multiple vendors, including VMware vSphere, Xross Entity Map (XEM), and Kernel-based Virtual Machine (KVM), but also servers and storage devices, as well as network, security, and load-balancing devices.

Huawei’s FusionSphere convergent ICT-enabled cloud platform provides the high performance (CPU, memory, and I/O) and reliability (fault tolerance, live migration, and high availability) necessary for moving Information and Communications (IT and CT) applications to your clouds. In addition, FusionSphere delivers elastic scalability, flexible load balancing, and expandable, distributed storage capabilities for new applications, such as Big Data, mobile, and Web applications. These capabilities make FusionSphere a great choice for customers looking to build a future-proof, convergent cloud platform.

Notable FusionSphere deployments include Vodafone, one of the world’s largest global telecommunications companies with multiple data centers worldwide. Vodafone faced many management complexities with equipment from multiple vendors, underutilized resources, and high O&M costs for IT. To address these issues, Vodafone opted to build hybrid, cloud-enabled data centers based on PLEX architecture. Ultimately, Vodafone selected FusionSphere as the foundation for its PLEX architecture, which enables Vodafone to centrally manage multiple private and public clouds as well as IT equipment from multiple vendors while implementing and simplifying service access through the PLEX architecture. In addition, the FusionSphere platform automatically and flexibly allocates resources based on service demands and can flexibly deploy and migrate services across private or public clouds. FusionSphere’s outstanding performance in improving the agility and efficiency for enterprise core services is confirmed by a growing number of customers. FusionSphere has been deployed in the Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system of China Mobile Jiangsu Branch, the real-time securities transaction data release system of Infocast Limited, as well as the service systems of CITIC Trust, Shenzhen Customs, and Shanghai Airport Authority — Pudong International Airport.

Open Clouds Empower Enterprise Success

Huawei plans to continue its focus on cloud infrastructures to help customers reshape and operate IT infrastructures of the future and to make services more agile and intelligent as open cloud infrastructures moves into the enterprise environment.

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